Wilhelmsen could be used in save situations when Steve Cishek needs rest, MLB.com reports. Manager Scott Servais said if Cishek works several games in a row, he could turn to Wilhelmsen to close a game. This doesn't necessarily mean Wilhelmsen has leapfrogged Joaquin Benoit as the closer in waiting, but Benoit hasn't pitched that well this season. Wilhelmsen has three scoreless appearances (2.1 innings) since joining the Mariners and has stranded all three of his inherited runners.
Wilhelmsen was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. Following an unceremonious departure from Texas, Wilhelmsen agreed to return to Seattle on a one-year deal, although he ended up spending mere days with the big league club. Wilhelmsen tossed a scoreless inning with one hit allowed in his lone appearance with Seattle. He could return the next time the Mariners need a fresh arm.
Wilhelmsen made his Mariners debut Thursday with a scoreless inning of relief . He gave up a single and did not record a strikeout. The Mariners planned to send Wilhelmsen to Triple-A to work on his pitches, and they need a roster spot for Friday's starter Wade LeBlanc. But if Thursday starter Adrian Sampson goes on the DL after injuring his elbow in warmups, Wilhelmsen will stay with the team. Wilhelmsen is expected to pitch middle relief for the Mariners after flaming out with the Rangers this season.
Wilhelmsen agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners on Wednesday, Bob Dutton of the News Tribune reports. Wilhelmsen recently turned down a minor-league offer by the Rangers. He has already has had space cleared for him on the 25-man roster, but he'll likely be relegated to the minors shortly and be used for bullpen depth. Wilhelmsen posted a 10.55 ERA in 21 appearances for the Rangers in 2016.
Wilhelmsen cleared waivers and has turned down an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock and will instead become a free agent, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson reports. He certainly hasn't pitched like a big league caliber reliever this year (10.55 ERA in 21.1 innings), but he notched 13 saves with the Mariners a year ago, so he probably still thinks of himself as a quality mid-to-late inning arm. Wilhelmsen has posted K-rates below 20 percent at both Triple-A and the big league level this season, so it's hard to envision him offering fantasy value anytime soon.